JAPAN NORTH KOREA TALK...AGAIN
Japan, N. Korea officials to meet again in Beijing (AFP) TOKYO — Senior Japanese and North Korean diplomats will meet in Beijing in December following rare talks earlier this month, Tokyo's top spokesman said Tuesday. The talks will be held on December 5-6, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said. Top of the agenda is expected to be North Korea's kidnapping of Japanese nationals in the Cold War era and its arms programme, amid media reports that Pyongyang is preparing for a long-range missile test. Japan's top negotiator will be Shinsuke Sugiyama and North Korea will be represented by Song Il-Ho. They held two-day talks in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator in mid-November in the first senior-level meeting between the two nations in four years. After the meeting Sugiyama said the atmosphere was "not acerbic." "It was direct, serious and very rich in substance. We discussed a wide range of subjects in depth," he told reporters at that time. The countries do not have diplomatic ties and have long been at odds, with Tokyo pressing Pyongyang to come clean over past abductions of Japanese nationals and its nuclear ambitions. In 2002 Pyongyang admitted its agents had kidnapped Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s to train its spies in Japanese language and customs. North Korea maintains Japan has not made up for its wartime aggression. It demands compensation and atonement.